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Weight Loss

photo of young woman with a measuring tape around her waste.Weight loss is a big challenge for many people. Most people, even naturally slim individuals, must lose weight at some point in life. Some people focus on the quickest way to drop pounds when they need to lose fat. Others realize slow, consistent fat loss can help them establish good eating habits over a lifetime. Diet and exercise in some combination are the two most important components of a plan to lose pounds. There are no “secret” diet plans that work. Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine supports patients’ desire to get healthy by improving diet and achieving weight loss goals.

Each patient should establish a realistic eating and exercise program. Restrictive diets don’t work and a plan that features two hours of exercise each day is bound to fail. Before implementing any new eating or exercise plan, discuss it with the doctor first. The caveat of “get the doctor’s permission” is sound medical advice. Many patients are pleasantly surprised by the doctor’s recommended nutrition and exercise changes for health and wellness. A first small change, such as the loss of five pounds, is more achievable than the larger task of losing fifty pounds. Small changes in increased physical activity, such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or parking the car a block away from the office, can help the patient close in on a goal to run five miles a few times a week.


“Diet” has an unpleasant sound for some people but, in reality, the word merely describes the foods and beverages consumed by a person each day. Some people may not need a complete nutrition overall in order to lose weight. Adjustments, such as avoiding sugary foods or foods with a high glycemic index, can help some people to lose pounds. According to a study published by the “Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,” women who were overweight or obese after menopause lost weight when they consumed fewer dessert foods, sugar-sweetened drinks, and smaller amounts of fried foods.

Each patient is unique, and all deserve a personalized plan that will work for them. Start by calling Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine to develop yours.


Yes, “exercise” also has an unpleasant ring to it for some patients, but this word is really just another name for activity. Many factors affect how well your body burns energy, including hormones, aging, and lifestyle. Increasing “non-exercise activity” or thermogenesis–making small activities a normal part of your day, every day–means a better metabolism and healthier body.

Increasing activity each day is one way to burn calories taken in as food or stored as fat. If you or a spouse has stopped doing daily chores, or if your children don’t have some activities they perform each day, that’s easily corrected. Start by carrying in two bags of groceries instead of one. Fire the lawn service and mow the lawn on the weekend. Take a leisurely walk after dinner or walk the dog twice around the neighborhood in the morning. Choose a biking or hiking vacation instead of a culinary cruise. Small changes add up to big health improvements.

Letting children opt out of chores doesn’t show your love for them. Give your children some activity to perform for everyone each day. Pattern activity, and your children will adopt an energetic lifestyle without knowing the word “exercise.”

Family History

The family history is one of the most important and insightful tools each patient has to manage his or her weight. Evaluate yours. Without the expense of genetic testing, it’s possible to understand that if you’re beginning to look like your grandmother—and she had an “apple shape” before learning she as diabetic—it’s time to lose weight and improve health. Because the family practitioner (FP) takes an extensive family history, it’s also unlikely that you will need to ask about diabetes testing!

By the “Numbers”

Every adult patient should know his or her numbers, including BMI (body mass index). Although many patients measure fat on the basis of a home scale, lean mass vs. fat is really the important number. Although other numbers affect how we look throughout the years, body fat and waist size are the most meaningful.

Total body composition changes as each person ages. As the hormone testosterone declines in both sexes, muscle tone is likely to decrease. Thin people can actually have too much fat because the muscle and fat ratio shifts over time. If you’re “feeling fat,” even if the scale number hasn’t changed, it’s possible that BMI has edged higher. Get a physical exam to know your BMI number.

Similarly, waist size is an important indicator of health. If the waist circumference increases and you haven’t gained weight, aging or disease may be to blame. Either way, don’t accept the “I will wear my pants a little lower or let out my belt” rationale. Ask Dr. Zack Charkawi about the right level of physical activity for you. Make an appointment, and make a plan, to improve your health.

Personal Health Expert

Family-focused medical care is one of the best ways to get the health ball rolling regarding weight loss and physical activity. It’s also one of the best ways to start your journey as your own personal and family health expert. The family history taken by the FP is a perfect place to understand—and respect—the potential for the development of disease or wellness in your life. For instance, learning your family has a large percentage of individuals with high blood pressure and/or heart disease doesn’t mean you will develop these conditions. Maintaining healthy weight and gaining regular exercise can reduce or completely prevent some diseases from happening. Importantly, by understanding the reasons why healthy weight and lifestyle factors are important, you and your family embrace all the reasons to stay healthy.


Dr. Zack Charkawi and Johns Creek Dermatology and Family Medicine want all patients to enjoy the benefits of health. Start or continue your health journey today by calling 770-771-6591 to arrange an appointment. Patients in and around greater Atlanta, North Atlanta, including Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, and Dawsonville are welcome.